Let´s go on with our survey to the history of comics in Finland...


   When Finnish Comics Society was founded in 1971 the persons in charge were real friends of comics and wanted

 to make real good comics wellknown and respectful.  They were not young radicals like those nowadays and a few

 years the Society was in right hands.  But then, when the next radical generation  from those who had made comics

 for underground magazines and fanzines took over everything changed in Finland´s comic business...


   At the end of 60s and more beginning of 70s the so called underground comics,  which mean also the comics that

 are not   commercial  but more homemade simple   experimental comics  published in small  fanzines came popular

 among young  individualists who now had own forum to get their humble comics to publicity.  But this radical trend

 really  expanded during  80s and had more publicity.   Many persons  who had been  involved in  those  early under-

 gound  fanzines  were now  working in  commerial  comic  publishers or  founded  their own small  comic business.

 They still  favored those humble,   often very crude comics and  published them  with others. At the same time those

 who were critisizing  comics in newspapers  regularly  over-estimated radical  comic works.   The additude  towards

 those comics  which had a new name  "vaihtoehto-sarjakuva"   (alternative comics)   made  them  sound   important

 and more  accepted  along the normal   well-done comics. The password to make them acceptable was "art".  That

was the beginning to the  contradiction  condition in Finnish comics today.

   The situation nowadays is that most published comics in Finland are  consequence of the twisted attitude towards

 the alternative  comics in public.    The large number of published  alternative  comics is easy to understand  by simp-

le reason  -   the level of the artwork  is usually very low  because  there are hundreds  and hundreds  who like to draw

 comics because to make them is very easy in way to do them  and there are many small publishers who are willing to

 publish them.   Thus most comics that were  offered to those  publishers are coming from that source,     and most of

them are very  simple arwork  falsely trying to be artistic.   This is misleading  many critics and  readers and has given

more potential for new crude selfmade artists to make comics. Comics societies and other similar supporting groups,

which are regurlaly in the hands of people like them,  are strongly spurring  them to make  comics alone or in groups

and also arranging training to enthusistic comics fans.  Sadly the the teachers are just those who make alternative co-

 mics - so, what is the result is what it is.  Real professionals do not have time for that sort of futility. 

  The twisted attitude to published comics is regrettable  because the large number of inferior comics are now majori-

ty in book store supply in these days.  Of course there are some better work also, but those are minority in  the selling


  Thus,  real professional and talented comics artists are minority in this business and the sales are concentrated

 more in various pitiful material, because the majority of customers are young radical people.  Still in Finland we have

 those artists who boldly go on with more traditional comic work.

   One famous artist came from SARJIS-magazine and created the best and most popular comic in 70s and still go on

working with different creations.  An example below:


                         Tarmo Koivisto:  "MÄMMILÄ"  This was the talented cartoonist`s breakthrough after 1971.

                                               More of the few skilful Finnish artists are presented later here... 


  One very potential group to make alternative comics for a certain purpose is the neo-suffragette-movement of the

 feminists in Finland.  They have found out that the comics are useful tool to pour out their aggressive attitude and

 their angst   and personal  complexies.   Unfortunately  they are not good artists,    but the enthusiasm is very high

 among them. Fortunately for them they have own magazine to publish what they like freely to do. Otherwise so rot-

 ten comics would  be very difficult to offer in other ways  -  so many of them have had their comics published in al-

 bum-form, usually printed by their own expense.

                                                                Collection of feminist comics below: 


 The drawing-style of women is very coarse and many of them like to draw very quick and roughly and the message

 is the most important purpose in their comic hobby. This is common also with the works of other women, but of

 course there are still some very talented women in the comics business...


               Terhi Ekebom: Kummituslapsi                Katariina Katla                              Kati Närhi                       Tiina Paju:  Maisa ja Kaarina  (text: Sari Luhtanen)

 The artists on the left are also skilled painters,  the next one on the right more traditional comic artist.  The cartoon is a serial pub-

 lished for many years in a women´s magazine.  Compared to rough works of most woman artist  it is good harmless humor. Com-

pared to other cartoons made by women, which most often deal with the women´s life in vey rude way, this is positive and enter-

taining. No need to be feminist- nor anarcho-feminist but handle optimistic comic of the life of two women.


                                                             But now it´s time to go to Finnish male comics: 

  From 1971 when many young drawers started in SARJIS-magazine a few of them became long-time professionals whose comics

  are still running in newspapers, magazines and albums.  Here they are:


                                          Tarmo Koivisto - political and social cartoons                                           Mauri Kunnas - comics published in albums.  Most known a children stories ala R.Scarry


                                                                                   Martti Sirola: Album artist                            Jorma Pitkänen:  A long-time strip  

  They are from the old school artists, but unfortunately most of new generation comics artist draw like women or just by

 rough dull  style.  Some of them are curiously very popular propably because of the subject of their works and pretend

 to be "artistic". Here are their "art":


                  As everybody can see,  these comics do not differ from the clumsies work of women in these days. 

                         Still, believe or not, someof those above are very popular and highly respected in public.

                                                                            Examples of these comics below:


                                         This very clumsy cartoon without any humor is made by Jussi Tuomola. 


                             These pages from an album are made by Ville Ranta. Could be drawn by a woman

                            because the style is same.  The form of dialog bubbles is stolen from a woman artist.


                                  A newspaper strip by Pertti Jarla is satisfactorily drawn, but the strip is too often

                                          dealing with obscene theme that interest only certain type of persons.

                                              This simple cartoon is popular in the market also -  Kiroileva Siili: 


                            Milla Paloniemi:  Kiroileva siili  ( Cursing hedgehog )  A worthless buffoon of comics.

              I must say, being a fan of Alex Raymond, Hal Foster, Carl Barks and Wally Wood etc, that I cannot un-

             derstand how any reasonable reader of comics can stand any comics like those above.   It´s alarming

             situation how low the taste of Finnish fans of comics has fallen in late 30 years.    But luckily there are

             still few who make good,  readable comics by traditional style.  Most of them make their comics for al-

             bums like those below:


                                           KARIM album-serial. Text by Toni Karonen, arwork by Harri Honkala. 


                                                                  J P Ahonen album Pikku närhi  (Little Jay) 


                                                                     Hannu Lukkarinen album:  Ronkoteus 


                                           Jouko Nuora album:  Kultainen nuoruus  ( The Golden Younghood ) 


                                                                              Heikki Paakkanen album images. 

  These were examples of better Finnish comics artist´s works.  Naturalism, cartoon-movie-style, and MAD-like

  humorous style. There are a few more, but it seems that this sort of comics need real talent and that is very

  rare in Finland at the moment.  The rough barbarism in drawings is more potential. 


   Still more about nowadays Finnish comics...  In 40s and 50s  Western comics were widely popular and came

   from USA and Italy.  Then, coming to 60s they mostly disappeared.  Finnish artist were interested to do wes-

   terns during Golden Era of Comics, but later the theme returned in 90s and after that, but only one comics

   artist was interested of it and produced a comic called Kalkkaro  ( Crotalus).  It was printed in a small version

   piece of printing and published also in few newspapers.  Unfortunately the drawings are very clumsy com-

   pared to those drawn in earlier times  by Finnish artists´  Wild West-stories.

                                                  Here is an example of a nowadays Wild West comic: 


               Petri Hiltunen:  Kalkkaro-strip.  The drawing of this serial´s artwork is full of clumsy errors. 

    It is a pity that the new-coming of earlier very favored theme is so weak because it certainly earned better

    artist to revive westerns in comic version.  But much more outrageous publication using wild west back-

    ground is a dirty  magazine full of  pornographic sex and still  worse drawings  has came to market by a

    small, insolent publisher.  The name of the magazine tells what it is:  "Vile West".


      The dirty magazine Rivo Länsi and two examples of its style.  Who wants to publish anything so bad like this !!! The censo-

       red frame is done by myself.  I do not like to show pornography on my website, you see. I t is quite obvious, that comics

       like these are meant only for perverse readers. To use good old Wild West theme is inexcusable insult. 


  Because I mentioned that I would tell about the hat of Pekka Puupää ( you remember?) now it´s

 time to do it.  The hat  (below)  is used, except from the beginning in the comic of Ola Fogerberg,

 also by Finnish Comics Society as the emblem of their annual award to a comics artist who has

 accomplished remarkable merit  in his work.


 The first time the award was granted 1972 right after the Society was founded. At first it was not gran-

 ted every year,  but from 1978 it was granted  regularly every year except  after 1985 when the Society

 offered the hat to me...   I refused   (and till this day I am the only one who has not wanted to accept the

 hat).  After the scandal that arose the Society didn´t  grant the hat until 1988. Then it has been granted

 every year and now 43 comic artists or writers are happy owners of that ridiculous hat. Of course some

 of them are dead .


   This award is also very  exposing example to reveal the radical  change in Finnish  comic genre. Till

 1988 the award was granted to those  who were or had been highly respected comics artists and icons

 in Finnish comics. Many of them lifetime hard workers in the comics business. But after that year when

 the personnel in the Society has changed to newcomers from the younger fans of modern comics and

 those who had been dealing with small fanzines, the original purpose to grant the hat was mere history.

 Except  only three remarkable long-time artists the award has been granted to 26 mediocre or even wor-

 se alternative-style "artists".  Many of them has remarkable short career in the comics, some have only

 published their comics  in a few albums and by their own expence.  The worthy purpose of the tradition

 has been  totally spoiled.   Needless to say that  I am glad that  I didn´t  take that  hat in 1985 and  wisely

 awoided to belong to that group of comic-diletants. 

                     To make my opinion more clear I´ll show few examples of the later awarded comics: 




                                             Here I like to close this article about the situation of comics business in Finland today.

                                             I know that what has happened here has happened in other countries  also and that co-

                                             mics-world has changed  like everything else in the world.  Still I hope that better judg-

                                             ment and taste  could return, but I do not believe that it´ll ever happen.

                                                                                   THE WORLD HAS GONE MAD. 


                                                                                    Kari T. Leppänen -  comics artist 

                                                                     English translation Susan Nelligan,  Cambridge England 

                                                                                                      to the links